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Opening Arguments

I do or die

A judge's creative sentencing results in a marriage I'm betting want be a happy ever after one:

 TEXARKANA, Texas (Reuters) - A 20-year-old East Texas man jumped into a quickly arranged marriage after a judge told him last month he had a choice of getting hitched or spending 15 days in jail on an assault charge.

According to court documents obtained on Friday, Smith County Judge Randall Rogers gave the option to Josten Bundy, of Tyler, Texas, who was arrested in March on a charge of assault causing bodily injury, a misdemeanor. Bundy had gotten into a fight with the ex-boyfriend of his then girlfriend and now wife.

The judge said he would grant probation if Bundy married his 19-year-old girlfriend, Elizabeth Jaynes, within 30 days, write Bible verses and attend counseling. If he declined, he would go to jail, according to a transcript of the proceedings obtained by Tyler TV broadcaster KLTV.

"Is she worth it?" Rogers asked Bundy, according to the transcripts.

This was a stupid sentence just on the facts on the specific case. The guy basically traded 15 days in jail for a life sentence (the marriage will have a lifetime effect even if it ends in divorce). And how happy is the 19-year-old woman likley to be married to man with that kind of temper and inclination to use viollence?

But also in general, the very idea of a judge thinking he has such unlimited power that he can dictate something as profound as marriage is repugnant. Goodness, if this idea catches on, where will it lead? The next thing yo know, the federal government will be able to order us to buy something we don't want to buy.

Judges have often order young miscreants to enlist in the military to avoid jail time, and I think that's a little different. Strict discipline can straighten out wayward sinners if they decide to give into it. If they don't want to straighten out, the military is capable of weeding them out without permanent damage to the institution.